So here we are, back in New York. Well off the tourist path, staying in a warehouse conversion overlooking the Atlantic Terminal across busy Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The objective behind this getaway is to explore pockets of the city we wouldn’t ordinarily go to as out-of-towners, eat where the locals eat and pretend to be locals ourselves. Man I love this town.
We’ve already sussed out a decent chunk of gentrified Smith Street and neighbouring high streets; ate and drank at a weeks-worth of places, but it’s this joint that made first cab off the rank on this 2013 trip to the US.
Flatbush Farm may not be much of a rural establishment, as its name suggests, but it does get the tick of approval from Slow Food NYC. The food is seasonal, it’s sourced from around NY or Vermont, and it’s organic wherever possible. When it comes to the set-up, it’s a bit more Brooklyn than farmhouse. Dark wood-panelled walls, high ceilings, worn floorboards and a rear courtyard complete with creeping ivy and towering brick wall.
The food may be labelled as American, which it is of course, but it has leanings to being gastropub fare as well. It’s simple and it’s great. Well what we had was, anyway.
With Beyoncé readying herself down the road at the Barclays Center, concert-goers packed the neighbouring eateries for an early feed. Flatbush Farm was one of them.
As we watched people being turned away, we tucked into a starter of arugula salad (10). Not just arugula (or rocket as we Aussies prefer to say), but watercress, purslane, pickled apricot, herbed goat cheese, blueberries and lemon citronette. Many refreshing mouthfuls, I tell you.
Perfect in proportions and flavours was my bowl of Atlantic scallops & black linguine (26). Three very large and very juicy seared scallops on a mound of squid ink pasta, sugar snap peas and freshly-shaved corn in a smoked tomato sauce. Garnishes with fennel fronds and clumps of purple oregano flowers added to the dishes beauty and mildly-spiced flavour.
On the other side of the table we have an enormous serving of Long Island duck steak (26). Breast meat as well as confit duck fanned over charred zucchini “noodles”, chunky hazelnut pesto and more of those oregano flowers. Rustic yet deliciously beautiful.
We may have been verging on fullness but taking a peek at the dessert options was a given. Sadly the line-up was a little typical, so the decision was to order the cheque, not the sweets. Think chocolate mousse, a brownie, carrot cake and strawberry shortcake. I’m sure any one of them was good but we were expecting something a little more interesting.